Storytel acquires Finland's Gummerus

Storytel acquires Finland's Gummerus

Audiobook streaming service Storytel has acquired family-run company Gummerus Kustannus Oy, the third-largest publisher in Finland.

Through its acquisition of Gummerus, Storytel substantially strengthens its position both as a distributor and a publisher on the Finnish book and streaming market, the Swedish audiobook company has said.

Gummerus was founded in 1872 and was run as a family business until the acquisition. It publishes around 200 titles per year including authors from Finland as well as authors such as Jojo Moyes, Nora Roberts, Michael Connelly, and others.

Gummerus will continue to be run by m.d. Anna Baijars, as an independent company. Gummerus had a turnover of 7.6m Euros (£6.7m) in 2018 and made a profit of around 0.3m Euros (£265,700).

The companies have declined to disclose the purchase price. The closing is expected to take place on 30th September.

Storytel, also owns Norstedts Förlagsgrupp, Sweden’s oldest publishing house, and several other smaller publishing entities in the Nordic region. Founded in 2005, the company now offers streaming audiobook services in 18 markets, having most recently expanded operations to Germany and Brazil, and surpassed one million paid subscribers in August. The company expanded into Russia, Spain, India and the United Arab Emirates in 2017.

Jonas Tellander, c.e.o. and founder of Storytel, said: “The acquisition of Gummerus Kustannus shows Storytel’s ambition to invest in content and in the digitalization of the Finnish book market. I feel both excited and confident as I welcome Gummerus Kustannus to the Storytel family and our publishing business area with renowned and respected Nordic brands like Norstedts, Massolit, StorySide, Printz Publishing, People’s Press, Rabén & Sjögren, B.Wahlströms and Norstedts Kartor.”

“Gummerus Kustannus has been an impressive company since the day of its inception, and we see good things to come as we join forces and begin cooperating with these proficient and skilled publishers who share our passion for great authorships and stories in all formats, and bringing them to the people to be shared and enjoyed every day in the most comfortable and accessible way possible.”

Baijars said of the deal: “Storytel is driving both growth on the Nordic book market and new and strong curiosity and interest in authorships and stories among new as well as already established consumer groups. It feels exciting to be backed up by a strong publisher with so much intellectual property and digital muscle and so many savvy new colleagues, not least at Storytel-owned Norstedts, Sweden’s oldest and second biggest publisher.”

Eero Salojärvi, owner of Gummerus Oy, said: “I am pleased that we found a devoted new owner to Gummerus Publishers that me and my family have cherished and proudly developed since 1943. Gummerus group will continue as independent family-owned real-estate, digital dictionaries and investment company and an associated company in book logistics.”

The news follows continued growth in the Swedish audiobook market. Revenues from streaming companies soared by 33.4% in the country in 2018, according to annual research by the Swedish Publishers Association and the Swedish Booksellers Association, it was revealed in February.